The Coffee Quest is really proud of Vampiro lot, from Finca Cocondo in Antioquia. This is a prime example of holistic organic coffee. The farm is located on pristine slopes of the Andes with a nature corridor that connects the farm to the Cauca River. The farm is 10 Ha of source for wildlife, where you will find animals ranging from exotic butterflies, amazing big gecko’s, small wolf-like animals and even black mountain cats, especially when visiting the farm at night (captured on motion sensor cameras).
The owner of Finca Cocondo is Luis Emilio Vélez, who allowed the wild “Vampiro” bats to live inside his coffee storage at this finca. Here, he stores the coffee in well double protections, including Grainpro bags.
Finca Cocondo is situated in the municipality of Titiribí, a tiny town high on the rim of a mountain with views of two valleys and the wild Cauca river, the second river of Colombia. For many years it wasn’t safe to cross the river. The other side was a guerrilla territory. However, now there’s no such problem anymore.
The plantation has been developed without harming any of the original vegetation. Walking through the coffee fields, you can feel more like a pleasant (though steep) forest stroll. Luis Emilio even created an eco-trail, complete with signs, that winds through various lots with different varieties, a spring and even a small fall that he sometimes uses as a shower.
You could almost say Luis Emilio is a freak, but in the positive sense. He does not allow any compromise to produce his characteristic purely organic coffee. He recycles everything and promotes his attitude everywhere he goes. For instance, he collects all the plastic wrappers of friends and family, has them stuffed in plastic soda bottles and uses these as bricks to construct buildings on his farm. Finca Cocondo has been producing high-quality coffee consistently for several years now, but Luis Emilio keeps experimenting with different varieties and processing methods.
We are organic, we do not use chemicals. Our coffee trees are under the forest, and the water sources are all protected just like the basins. We do not hunt, we do not burn and we have been able to register the presence of endangered animals, for example “tigrillos”. We take care of bees and for that we created hives. They are the ones that help pollination and gives us honey which we collect. – Luis Emilio Velez Aramburo
To get 100% ripe cherries from the pickers Luis Emilio must be very strict, and pays them well (almost double towards 1,4 mil pesos). He also provides the option to buy all of the unripened for a good price every Friday. The wet milling starts in an extremely clean wet milling station.
The overseer and “student of coffee” Norbey told us they use mouth caps and aprons during processing and have a strict cleaning regiment that takes place right after processing. After the pulping, the coffee is laid down to soak in a greenhouse with ventilators that extract humidity. Temperatures are constant (about 40 degrees Celcius). After bringing down the largest humidity, the coffee is brought to a new greenhouse with a drawer system (a simple smart system to make sure of a balanced drying among the cherries). Between the Washed, Honey and Naturals they maintain different fermentation times, and the selection of the process depends on the humidity in the air.
At Finca Cocondo, temperatures on morning dews are extreme: the humidity from the river is pushed up by the daylight and covers the entire farm. However, they managed to turn this difficulty into an advantage. The new addition to the process is the dehydrating machine to make sure the coffee ends up at a perfect 9,5% humidity. The beans always soak up a bit more humidity before they get stored in the greenhouse.
Curiosity: To keep the greenhouse at higher temperatures for several hours after the sunset, Norbey uses big stones in the greenhouse that warm up during the day. during several hours after the sun goes down.
“The fermentation for Honeys lasts 28 hours in cherry. Then coffee is dried pulped leaving a percentage of mucilage for its honey process. The beans are left between 30 – 40 hours of oxidation then they go to the African beds where the process of dehydration or controlled drying begins . Washed lots receive fermentation hours between 14 – 18 hours, aerobic fermentation.” – Luis Emilio Velez Aramburo
The Coffee Quest’s deal is to be in close contact with producers to keep track of the harvest and give the needed support. Our aim is to pay a higher price for higher quality, but we also accept less complex lots in case of difficulties. For example, 2019 was a tough year for Finca Cocondo, as the hail destroyed the beans, and opened the door for a beetle borer plague. Luis Emilio could have choosen to produce the “safer” Washed and Honey lots, that might score less in terms of Quality, but he did not opted for this easy option.
The Coffee Quest has been working closely with Luis Emilio for long years. When we receive visits at our office in Medellín from our clients, we usually take them with us to Finca Cocondo due to its proximity and the amazing experience. Unlike other coffee farms, you can feel respect for nature. You can see and hear the flora and fauna that live in cohesion with the coffee trees. After successfully switching from conventional production to organic in 1998, they decided to apply the same innovative mindset to the post-harvest processing.
Finca Cocondo is one of the fewest Colombian farms able to provide exceptional quality lots for processing such as Honeys and Naturals. A good example to reach such results is the use of ventilators and deshydratation machines. Something you don’t really see every day at Colombian farms.
“We take care of the disposal of the garbage and any leftovers and turn them into food for the chickens or product for vermiculture. We also do recycling. What does make our coffee special? The love we put into every steps of the process: from the care of environment to the attention on fermentation process and drying storage” – Luis Emilio Velez Aramburo
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Have you ever stopped to ponder the impact of your morning cup of coffee?
At The Coffee Quest, the question above has been one of our main focus points since our beginning.